Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, October 21st, 2018

Live in the Present


Live in the Present

We often talk about “living in the present”. But what do we really mean by “living in the present”? Does that mean that we do not think about the past or the future? But how we cannot think about the past or the future? That would not be possible or desirable. For we do need to recollect the past and to plan for the future at times. So we need to discuss what we mean by “living in the present”.
“Living in the present” means living well in the present, living skillfully in the present. Doing what we have to do now well, in fact, be the best guarantee for the future. And also there will be no regrets when we think back about the past. Instead, there will be joy – joy at having lived a good life and at having done good deeds. Living in the present means that our awareness is centered on here and now. We are not worrying about the future or thinking about the past. When we live in the present, we are living where life is happening regardless of what happened in the past or what is going to happen in the future. In other words, being in the moment does not mean that we are stuck in the moment. We can mindfully and creatively call to mind past events, or imagine what might happen in the future. We can think about the past and think about how we might have acted differently, or wonder why something happened the way it did. We can think about possible futures, and of how the actions that we commit now will make those futures more or less likely. When we are thinking about the past or future while being in the moment, we are conscious that we are reflecting and we are not lost in the thought. We do not confuse fantasy with reality. We do not stray from thinking about the past in order to construct imaginary pasts in which we said or did the right thing – or if we do so then it’s part of a conscious thought experiment to see what we might learn from the experience. We think about the future, but rather than it being idle daydreaming we’re thinking about the consequences of our actions or otherwise reflecting on where we want to go in life.
Now the question arises how to live in the present? Although, living in the moment is not always easy. Sometimes our thoughts are overwhelmed by regrets about the past events or anxiety about the future, which can make it hard to enjoy the present, but it is not impossible too. Of course by practice and going through certain ways we can make it happen to live in now and get the most out of it as we navigate through by doing and going according to our values.
We have to concentrate on the present. For the present is something very much alive. It is immediately before us. But our present is a touch-and-go affair. At the next moment it will be past and irrevocably gone. So the passing moment has to be seized by the forelock and turned to account which means fully utilized. And it belongs to the present that places before the real problems. There is nothing imaginary or prospective about it. Every moment we are up against unforeseen difficulties or perhaps the hostility of interested people. We have to take a measure of these. These are the living realities of life. We should grid up our lions and grabble with these immediate problems of life boldly and vigorously. In addition, to act in the present has other advantages. It makes for steady and continues advancement. Let us remember that the heights of greatness were not reached by extraordinary leaders by a sudden fight. It involved long, laborious and patient work from day to day. If, therefore, we waste our time thinking of our past and our future and allowing the present to slip by, with nothing done, it will not win for us the noble goal.
The lesson of the past have a timeless value for the future guidance. And without a consciousness of the future, the present may not turn to be a blind lane. We purchase the future with the present. The tree of the present has its roots in the past to bear fruit in the future. Besides that, being in the moment is just another way of saying that we are aware of what is going on in our experience, that we are not just being angry (or whatever) but we are aware that we are angry and are aware that we can choose to be otherwise. Of course a lot of the time, when we are not being in the moment, literally thinking about past or future. We might be dwelling on the past – brooding about some past hurt. Or we may be fantasizing about the future in which we have won the lottery and are living out our lives in some imagined paradise, or daydreaming about being with the perfect partner. Often these fantasized pasts and futures are not even real possibilities, but simply fantasies of how things might be or how we would have liked them to have been. And as with all unmindful activity, we have no awareness that this fantasizing is pointless. All that it does is reinforce unhelpful emotional tendencies that can never enrich lives.
Living in the present gives few extra years to live. It means that we will surely live longer, but that you will have more time on your hands which would otherwise, have been wasted on either, brooding about past mistakes and failure or worrying about the future. It needs to be realized that there are many things that are out of control. So, in both of the two cases above, worrying will not improve things and it merely add to the stress. Hence, living in the present reduces stress. It helps to focus better on the task at hand, moreover, to dedicate the terms of life and are not bound by the outcomes of our actions and above all we become happier in general because we are getting things done and are not plagued by either the past or the future. We have time to enjoy the little things in life.

Ahmad Shah Karimi is the newly emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at ahmadshah.karimi12@gmail.com

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